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Kangaroos vs Samoa 45-27 as at happened ?

Old Trafford plays host to the Rugby League World Cup final on Saturday as Australia and Samoa do battle for the honour of being crowned the best team on the planet.

After two semi-finals dripping in drama, more history is sure to be made in Manchester this weekend as the sport’s dominant force in Australia takes on a first-time finalist in Samoa.

Australia may have arrived in England sitting a relatively lowly fourth in the international world rankings, but no-one will be surprised to have seen them make it all the way to the showpiece event.

The Kangaroos’ record at the Rugby League World Cup is arguably the most dominant of any team in any sport, having reached every single final since the inaugural edition in 1954, and going on to lift the trophy 11 times from those 14 tournaments.

That run includes being crowned world champions in eight of the last nine tournaments, including each of the last two, with their most recent defeat on the World Cup stage coming against New Zealand in the 2008 final on home soil; since then, they have won 17 straight World Cup games.

Australia have already gained revenge for that defeat – most notably hammering New Zealand 34-2 in the final four years later, which incidentally also took place at Old Trafford – and they again got one over on their Trans-Tasman rivals in the semi-finals this year.

Mal Meninga‘s side by no means had things all their own way, though, and New Zealand were arguably the better side during an all-time classic which Australia ultimately edged 16-14 at Elland Road.

The sheer quality on display from both teams led to some pundits proclaiming it the greatest rugby league game of all time as the Kiwis came within a whisker of finally ending Australia’s iron grip on the World Cup.

In terms of drama, though, it was rivalled less than 24 hours later when Samoa shocked England by the finest of margins at the Emirates Stadium, eventually booking their place in a first-ever final courtesy of a golden-point drop-goal in extra time.

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